A review of open justice in NSW is examining the use of Twitter in court, whether an independent advocate should appear in proceedings to advise on non-publication orders, and if anything can be done when suppression orders made in NSW are breached overseas.
The review, announced by Attorney-General Mark Speakman in February 2019, is the first since 2003 to scrutinise the access, disclosure and publication of court and tribunal information. The last review was conducted before the invention of Facebook, Twitter and smart phones.
Open justice is the legal principle that courts should operate in public as much as possible, and is regarded as one of the fundamental aspects of the justice system. This includes members of the public being able to watch court proceedings.
In a recent consultation paper, the NSW Law Reform Commission asked for feedback on more than 60 questions, including who should be able to access what types of court information, what can be done when suppression and non-publication orders are breached outside Australia, and the operation of online virtual courtrooms.
Suppression and non-publication orders are court orders that prevent the disclosure or publication of information including someone’s name, or other identifying details.